Be a Brent – The World Needs More Brents

The Gift Of Giving

BrentandI

 

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Ex-Former-Step-Brother-In-Law

With my Ex-Former-Step-Brother-In-Law Brent

 

It was 2003.  I was having a rough go of it.  By "rough go" I mean destitute, frustrated, and that was the year they irritatingly kept playing “Calling All Angels” by Train.  As no angels had yet come to my rescue, I suppose I was feeling a bit miffed.

I was unsatisfied in my job.  I was not making ends meet.  I was frustrated at being single.  I had a hangnail.  I remember telling my cousin and best friend, “I am fundamentally unsatisfied.  And I have a hangnail."

At this point in my life I was getting a payday loan from Payday Loans, to pay for a payday loan from Checks Cashed, to pay for a payday loan from Money Tree.  That delightful cycle of desperation would cost me $225 every two weeks.  And to complicate matters, there were still no angels showing up on my doorstep.  I began to suspect Train of being devil-worshippers AND having the wrong number, because surely an angel would have hearkened unto them by now and shown up to provide me another payday loan.

I was down in the dumps, truly.

Thank God the one saving grace I had was working under the employ of Brent, whose last name has been withheld at his own request, because he is too humble and has no aim for fame.  So, for the purposes of this blog, I have decided to give him the surname Maximus Meridius Deciduous Amphibious Oblivious, partly because this is my blog, and wholly because it is not yours.

Anyway, Brent owns a company that provides a service.  That is all I am allowed to say.  Brent is my ex-former-step-brother-in-law, because somewhere along the line our family tree was dipped into a big ol' pot o' crazy.  It truly defies logic!  I think I have an uncle who is a zebra.

At Brent's company I was a dispatcher, web designer, data entry tech, customer service guy, and gopher.  The latter meant that I was responsible for picking up lunch each day and washing his car.  I made sure to never mix those up and accidentally wash his lunch.  But that also meant that I would get lunch every day, courtesy of Brent.  As a poor-destitute-payday-loan-infested-moths-in-my-pocket Indigent, I was not going to say no to free food.  Brent would usually order Quizno’s, which is Subway for billionaire oil tycoons.  I am not kidding when I say this was a daily occurrence for a while.  I never asked; he just always bought lunch for the four of us office personnel, which included himself, his sister Jill, and the two gophers Kat and myself.

But that was not the half of it.  Lunch was delicious, surely, but Brent is far more generous than that.

 

One Hand In My Pocket, And The Other One's Givin' A High-Five

At the theatre production where I proposed to my wife, June 2011

 

Several times after leaving Brent’s company in 2004, I would return and visit him at his office.  After all, he was family, no matter how convoluted our tree.  I actually think I am part Klingon somewhere in there, but have not sent in my 23andMe package just yet because my zebra-hooves make it difficult to seal the envelope.

I was still struggling, and moving from job to job, unsatisfied with my current positions. But after my visits with my ex-former-step-brother-in-law, I would be driving down the road, and reach into my pocket for my cigarettes - oh that is why I was indigent! - and find something paper-based in there.  Confused, I would reach further…and pull out a $20 bill.  Sometimes it was even a $100 bill.  Unbeknownst to me, Brent had slipped it in while I was on the phone at his office getting a payday loan.

Brent just does that.  He has always just done that.  Blessed people.  Even at the expense of himself!  In fact, Brent is now living on the corner of 5th & Cherry under a blanket of cardboard with a man named Barbara who talks to a sock puppet all day long, because he continues to give $20’s away.

I am exaggerating.  Actually, his company is doing quite well even in the midst of a global pandemic, because I suspect that this universal adage is alive and well:

What comes around goes around.

I do not mean in the Justin Timberlake way.  If you have ever seen the movie Pay It Forward, then you automatically know a few things:

But the key takeaway from this film - besides the fact that Jay Mohr is in it - is the message of paying it forward.  Each and every time Brent slipped a $20 into my pocket, I wished he had put a $100 bill in there.  I am kidding.  Each time he did that, it made me grateful beyond words, and it reminded me that there is still good in this world.

Despite Kevin Spacey still being in it.

 

The Golden Rule

Paintballing at my Bachelor Party in February 2012

 

Of late, I find myself teaching the golden rule to Brennan, our 6-year-old, as he has a newfound affinity for harassing his younger brother, and also apparently an affinity for being sent to his room.  Both of my boys are also now at the stage where they are telling on each other frequently.  And I, Almighty Judge, get to decide what is right and just.

God help us all.

Both boys, on a microcosm level, are representative of The Crazy Times we are living in.  By all outward appearances, we are more fractured and siloed than ever before.  Cellular; alienated; disjointed; detached; seceded, and withdrawn.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank my local Thesaurus.

The pandemic has served, among other things, to further divide and quarantine us as people.  I even met a poor pitiful creature the other day who has been living in a cave for a long time now, talking to his precious and catching stray orcs in the dark with the help of a magic ring that would somehow make him invisible.  He is the quintessential Social Distancer. He talked with a strange throaty gollum, and I could never quite make out most of what he said.  But I gathered from his grunts and wheezes that he was just as alone and fractured as the rest of us.  Then he bit off my ring finger and that was that.  I fear we will never grow closer together now, he and I.  No fantasy creature is going to bite off my finger and stay in the Alexander Circle of Trust, let me tell you.

So what is to be done in such a dark and disjointed time, when people all around us are biting each others' ring fingers off?  Stop wearing rings is the first answer.  But secondly...

Be a Brent.

Now, I am not saying that you should immediately start surrendering your Jacksons, but if you are feeling generous, I will have no choice but to accept all of your money, with my thanks.  But there are more than myself out there in need of great help.  In just the past few years, I have witnessed some beautiful benevolence in the voiceover community:

  • Voice Talents rallying behind Tim Tippets after a Grand Mal seizure
  • Voice Talents rallying behind Bev Standing's TikTok voiceover infringement lawsuit
  • Voice Talents forming the Brad Venable scholarship following his death
  • Voice Talents rallying behind Andy Niederdorf following a house fire
  • Voice Talents rallying behind Gary Scales following a house fire
  • Voice Talents expressing support for fellow Voice Talent & Blogger Paul Strikwerda following a stroke
  • Voice Talents contributing toward Dan Harder's Memorial following his death

There are a lot of Voiceover Brents.

Recently, I was able to help a colleague’s daughter’s boyfriend who was sideswiped by a semi-truck, presumably driven by someone on the phone getting a payday loan.  Do I know the daughter or her boyfriend?  No. The GoFundMe spoke to me, and I merely answered.

I got to be a Brent.

I have been able to be a Brent so many times over the past few years as I have witnessed my bank account inflate due to substantial voiceover revenue.  I have been able to help plenty of people through free financial help, scholarships to conferences, memberships to P2Ps, free training courses & books, hundreds of free consults, encouraging business reports, and more.  Who set the example for me?

Brent.

Each time I give, I think of Brent and the example he set for me.  Sadly, I also think of something that was said to me many years ago by a deluded relative that demanded a lot from me for nothing, and when I reluctantly refused, they said "That's OK.  Giving to others isn't everyone's bag."  That statement stung!  It attacked my love language, which is giving.  I love to give.  I take great pride in giving.  Am I tooting my own horn?  Maybe a little.  But these beep-beeps come from a tremendous sense of gratitude, and to show you that I and many others are, by example, demonstrating what we all should be doing: giving.  Now, I know, we all have different abilities and resources.  We draw from whatever well’s depth that we can.  Remember the poor widow who gave all she had, though all she had was a pittance.  We do what we can.  Always.

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. It is The Golden Rule. What comes around goes around. If you can, be a Brent. The world needs more Brents.

I believe he also offers payday loans.

At my wife's and my wedding in March of 2012

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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire
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206.557.6690

26 thoughts on “Be a Brent – The World Needs More Brents”

  1. Loved hearing a slice of your before-the-mic story! The story of Brent is endearing, powerful, and inspiring. Thanks for a quality Monday morning listen/read!

  2. Brent sounds like a really nice chap! I have plenty of Brent”s in my life but they never gave me any $20’s haha! Much less $100’s. Long live your Brent and thanks for the inspiring reminder to pay it forward. Have a great week Josh.

  3. Brent sounds like a wonderful person. I have been lucky enough to have some Brents in my own life. Often they were people who I was not close with actually. people who just stepped up and offered help.

    We should all strive to be like Brent. I try to give when I can, even to people I don’t know. And offer what little wisdom I’ve gained in life through my blog.

    You toot that horn, Josh. You are one of the most generous people I have met in this business.

    Beep beep! 😄

  4. Love this story about Brent Joshua, yes I’m going to try to be more Brent – my well is fairly shallow but my eyes and ears are open for the next opportunity in honour of Brent!

    1. Thank you Rachel! We all can stand to model Brent a bit more. I’m so very grateful for this man, and for the model he left for me. Here’s to generosity and paying it forward, and may you be utterly successful in all you do!

  5. To Brent or not to Brent, is that a question? Some of the most memorable people in our lives are those that helped us out in one way or another, without expecting anything in return. Hmmm… sounds like someone I know (who writes a blog and styles himself as a voice-over superhero). And Jesus. And Jim Caviezel.

    1. But…wait…isn’t Jim Caviezel…Jesus? I’m confused. Based on some recent Q’Anon appearances, most would (rightly) say “Ahem, NO.” But still…I pop in the Blu-Ray, and yet there he is, up there on that cross. I think I need a cleanse.

  6. Yeah, Kevin Spacey… ouch… I really feel sorry for him, especially since the whole thing happened at the height of pc culture and the metoo movement… I really hope he’s ok despite all the drama – he’s still a fantastic actor.

    I want to be like Brent financially too. Right now, I can only teach, so I do that. OOOH! I also love helping out! A friend of mine wanted to do a small renovation (just surface level decoration) and I was like “OOH! That’ll be fun!!!” The reaction was, uhm,… different, hahaha. Over here, culturally, people avoid work outside of work, especially physical labor, so I guess it was a shock, from an artsy person, to be excited about manual labor, LOL.

    I was also on the receiving end of someone paying it forward two years ago. I was getting lunch at the pie shop, when the guy behind me insisted on paying for it. I was floored! NEVER happened before! So grateful! That job paid way less than minimum wage (for SA) and that was my only real lunch option. This is a really awesome thing to be able to do for people – doesn’t have to be grand – just be good to people: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38, KJV. Go about, doing good and do that in every way.

    I’m so glad you get to pay it forward from your side too! It really is a hedge of protection to be generous from the heart!

    Haven’t seen all the movies, but I did see The Passion Of The Christ.

    1. Put Pay It Forward on your list right this minute, Mr. Oberholster! It truly is a wonderful movie. And such a good and needed theme! We should be paying it forward all the time, especially as Christians. I’m so glad to know Brent and to be witness to (and recipient of) his shining example. He’s the guy behind you at the pie shop. He’s the one who pays for your car repairs. Who listens to you cry (which I don’t do because I am a man). Who shoulders your burdens. He is truly a fantastic mammal.

      1. I will do so! 😀

        I missread a part; he’s the one who pays for your cat repairs, LOL. Well, that needs help too!

        I’m glad mammals like Brent still exist! 😀

  7. I was just thinking recently I want to get in the habit of keeping some cash in my purse for giving away. I walked past a rough sleeper the other day and only had 15c on me. He was still grateful but I would have rather been able to give him a fiver or something.

    I’m glad you have a Brent. 🙂

    1. Brent is truly a Brently Brent, for sure! But my friend, you were a Brent in that too – even with the 15 cents. Keep that up. I love that you did it. Too many people walk right on by and pretend that the problem isn’t there. I love that you didn’t pretend.

  8. I LOVED reading this. What a sweet and moving person. I have always secretly wanted to become skilled in the art of reverse pickpocketing, with the intent of doing exactly what you described – blowing people’s minds when they discover money in their pockets that wasn’t there before. When we are struggling, a thoughtful gesture such as that carries SO MUCH weight. May we all bring a bit of Brent into each others’ lives when we need it most.

    1. Thank you MAL! I truly love Brent, “BR” as he is known to family and friends. He’s a man’s man, a Godsend, a generous soul, a brother, and a true friend. I’m very grateful to know him and to call him family.

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